Do You Need a DC Employment Discrimination Lawyer?
Have you suffered discrimination by your manager — just because of who you are?
- Are you being treated differently based on your sex, age, race, or another factor?
- Is your career in jeopardy because of the bias you face?
A host of federal laws protect employees from employment discrimination based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or military status. Many states’ laws go further, and may protect workers from bias based on their ancestry, marital status, physical appearance, genetic status, family responsibilities, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Such laws generally forbid discrimination "in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment." This includes differences in pay and benefits, of course, but also in promotions, work assignments, and other aspects of work. If your employer has treated you unfairly, discrimination laws may help you to get your job back — or compensate you for lost pay or benefits.
People ask us:
The Employment Law Group® law firm in Washington DC has broad experience fighting for the rights of employees who have suffered discrimination at work. Our employment discrimination attorneys won a $466,000 judgment for a female client who was paid less than her male coworkers. We helped to obtain a $1 million jury award for a victim of sexual harassment, and a $650,000 jury award for a client whose employer retaliated against her for reporting a colleague’s gender discrimination complaint.
Our firm also shapes discrimination law. We have established important precedents in venues including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. For instance, our work helped to provide new ways for employees to to prove that their company’s stated reasons for a firing were just a pretext. In the area of disability discrimination, we established that federal law forbids discrimination against employees with short-term injuries that are “sufficiently severe” to limit a major life activity.
Important statutes in this area of law:
Prohibition against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
Equal rights under the law
Prohibition against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; prohibition against retaliation; enforcement by EEOC
Discrimination against persons who serve in the uniformed services and acts of reprisal prohibited; reemployment rights of persons who serve in the uniformed services; rights, benefits, and obligations of persons absent from employment for service in a uniformed service
Protection against workplace discrimination; prohibition against retaliation; enforcement by EEOC
Prohibition of sex discrimination
Unlawful employment practices; enforcement; application to those over 40 and compulsory retirement
Overall Rule and Definitions of ADAAA; disability Definitions; congressional findings
Employment benefits and protection; leave requirement ; prohibited acts
If you have suffered illegal discrimination, you may be entitled to reinstatement in your job; back pay for lost wages; front pay for future lost wages; litigation costs and attorney fees; and other compensatory damages and punitive damages.
As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. Discrimination statutes have short deadlines to file. In some states, an employee must file a charge of discrimination as early as 180 days or six months after an act of discrimination.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is protected by DC employment discrimination laws?
Employment discrimination statutes vary widely across jurisdictions but may protect individuals based on their membership in the following classes: Race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, military status, ancestry, marital status, physical appearance, genetic status, family responsibilities, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Some of these protections are evolving. As an example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly covers race, color, religion, sex and national origin — but it has been interpreted to prohibit discrimination against employees because of their ancestry, culture, and linguistic characteristics, as well as sexual orientation and gender identity.
What are the key federal anti-discrimination laws?
Among the most important are:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- the Equal Pay Act
- The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA
What sort of workplace discrimination is prohibited?
Most employment discrimination statutes prohibit failing to hire or discharging any individual, or otherwise discriminating against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s membership in a protected class.
Federal law also protects employees against retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination or participating in an investigation of discriminatory practices.
What can a victim of discrimination recover?
If you have suffered illegal discrimination at work, you may be entitled to receive:
- Back pay for lost wages
- Front pay for future lost wages
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
- Litigation costs and attorney fees
Does federal law prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression?
Not explicitly. However, recent U.S. Supreme Court and appellate court decisions have broadened the scope of Title VII’s protections by holding that Title VII prohibits discrimination against employees simply because their behavior or appearance does not conform to traditional gender or sex stereotypes. In many instances, LGBT employees are able to bring Title VII claims in federal court if they experience workplace discrimination on the basis of gender. In addition, many states have enacted laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Discrimination Settlements and Verdicts by Employment Law Group
Here are a few:
- In Cooke v. United States, our attorneys obtained a $466,000 judgment for a female client who was paid less than her male co-workers in similar positions. The case established important precedents in the area of gender discrimination law under the Equal Pay Act, with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims holding that the offending employer bears a “heavy burden” in proving that a difference in pay is it not the result of gender discrimination. Additionally, the court held that the female employee had a right to choose one male employee’s salary to serve as the basis for calculating her damages, rather than having her salary compared to all male employees performing a similar job thus maximizing her recoverable damages.
- Our firm succeeded in obtaining a $1 million jury award for a victim of sexual harassment. In Sterling v. Atlantic Automotive Corp. we represented an employee whose supervisor subjected her to sexual harassment and continued his pattern of abuse even after the employee filed a complaint.
- TELG attorneys helped a client win a $650,000 award in a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit in which the employer retaliated against her for reporting a colleague’s gender discrimination complaint.
- We represented two clients who obtained a $101,000 jury verdict in a lawsuit against Virginia Tech. The jury found that Virginia Tech discriminated against the two female employees by paying them less than their male counterparts — and retaliated against one of the employees for complaining about the wage disparity.
- In Breeden v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., a TELG client was awarded a $579,338 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) jury verdict. Ms. Breeden worked for Novartis as a pharmaceutical sales representative and after announcing that she was pregnant, the company cut her sales territory, leaving her fewer accounts. After returning from maternity leave, the company informed her that the changes would be permanent and eventually eliminated her position altogether.
- In Inman v. Klockner-Pentaplast, our discrimination attorneys represented a former vice president who presented evidence that his employer fired him because of his age: The company was undertaking efforts to create the appearance of a younger and revitalized firm. Arguing before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, our firm obtained a reversal of the lower court’s grant of summary judgment against Mr. Inman thereby allowing him to use the statements of non-decision makers in the company to show that the reasons offered by the company for his termination were pretextual. This decision set an important precedent in ADEA litigation.
- In Fink v. Richmond, the TELG law firm represented a schoolteacher in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit who was unable to continue her job after undergoing surgery for esophageal cancer. The teacher requested a new position that she believed would better accommodate her disability, however the school district refused to accommodate this request and placed her in a position as a substitute teacher.
Just won my case
The strategy that the federal government uses to win cases is to delay, delay, delay. This buys them time to retaliate and ruin the reputation of the complainant. It also forces the complainant to spend much more money than they need to on attorney fees. The EEOC system works for the U.S. government, not the complainant. Their investigators are biased and represent the interest of the U.S. government. My advice is to always get an attorney, save your emails, and don't speak with anyone about your case. Be aware that anyone can be a racist. No group has a monopoly on racism.
January 10, 2012
Area of Law: Discrimination